Army spokesman Azam Barmenda Agouna told state TV that Debbie – who had been a longtime Western ally in efforts to eliminate Islamic militias in North Africa – “died as a result of his injuries on the front line.” Reuters said that Debbie was visiting soldiers fighting the rebels in the north of the country.
The day after the announcement, it was announced that Debbie, who had been in power for 30 years, was projected to win for the sixth consecutive time in the elections held earlier this month.
The Rebels, who have been seeking to oust Debbie since 2016, claimed several wins in the previous week and reported skirmishes in the north of the country over the weekend.
In Chad, Change for Front and Change and Concorde – known as Front Poor in French. Laurentens et la Concorde Au Touched (FACT) – said that on Friday it had overtaken a military outpost in Gauri. The claim was denied by the government, instead rebelling was defeated.
On Monday, FACT said Debbie was injured and on the run.
“Confidence of oaths for the nation and the Chadian people, Marshal of Chad, President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Idris Debbie Itno, have just recently defended their sovereign nation on the battlefield, “Agouna said in his statement. “It is with deep bitterness that we announce the death of Chadian Marshal Idriss Debbie Itno on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, resulting in injuries to the frontline,” he said.
Agouna said that a transitional military council would take 18 months for the country to “assure the defense of our beloved country facing this war against terrorism and evil forces”.
According to Agouna, Dibi’s son, General Mahatam Kaka, will serve as the chairman of the Transitional Council. Analysts questioned whether the move was constitutional.
Agouna promised that “the spirit of sacrifice would be followed by free, democratic and transparent elections, for which Marshall fought during his life.”
The army declared a 14-day period of national mourning and imposed curfew overnight. Air and land boundaries will be closed until further notice.
Chad teamed up with Nigeria and Cameroon in the fight against the terrorist group Boko Haram and formed part of a joint task force fighting the rebels in the region.
Chad borders Libya, the Darfur region of Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic and there are fears that Debbie’s death threatens the region’s stability. The FACT claims that it is in control of the Tibesti region of Chad.
Reuters reported that the FACT, which is located on the northern border with Libya, had moved southward from the capital N’Djamena, hundreds of kilometers away, in the days following the April 11 election. But the Chadian army slowed the pace to about 300 km (185 mi) from N’Djamena, Reuters said.
The US embassy in Chad directed US staff to “shelter” after Debbie’s death, citing “potential for unrest”. It urged US citizens to leave the country by commercial airline if possible. He said, “Don’t wait for the US government to evacuate you. The US government does not anticipate conducting any non-commercial evacuation flights from Chad.”
Debbie, ‘security anchor’
Analysts said the situation was volatile. Mohammad Yahya, a representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Nigeria, told CNN, “The worst case scenario is a Libyan type of disintegration in a very insecure and conflict-affected region. Chan put up a lot under the leadership of President Debbie.” Pressure on Boko Haram in the region. If disintegration occurs then the flow of arms will increase and there will be an emerging Boko Haram, which will concern any policy makers and security actors in Nigeria. “
Yahya said that President Debbie has played an important role for the international community as a “security anchor” in the region and his first thought would be how to secure a “volatile transition” in the country to avoid further instability .
“Debbie depended on the international community to bring security to someone. She also contributed troops to Mali during the rebellion there, so ever since I have heard the news, my concern is ‘What’s next?’ And how can the international community ensure and support the country through this difficult change, ”he said.
But Debbie’s rule had become increasingly authoritarian. He presided over the introduction of the new constitution in 2018, which allowed him to remain in power until 2033, Reuters reported. However, it restored the tenure limit. Debbie took the title of Marshall last year and said before last week’s election: “I know in advance that I will win, as I have done for the last 30 years,” according to Reuters.
Matthew Page, a fellow fellow of the Africa program at the UK-based think tank Chatham House, doubted the constitutionality of the announcement of a military council headed by Debbie’s son of the military. “Chad is not a hereditary monarchy, so this is obviously completely problematic because his son is not considered his successor,” Page said.
Page said that France and the United States would be “exceptionally nervous” about the latest developments. Both countries supported Debbie’s “strong approach” to running Chad, he said.
France – the former colonial power in Chad – said on Tuesday that it had lost a “brave friend” and underscored the importance of a “peaceful transition”.
The French president’s office said in a statement, “France stands with the people of Chad during this meeting. It expresses its strong attachment to the stability and territorial integrity of Chad.”
“Chad has lost a great soldier and a president who has worked tirelessly for the country’s security and the stability of the region for over three decades.”
The French military has about 5,000 soldiers fighting al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups in the region of northwest Africa, known as the Sahel.
The report contributed to CNN’s Melissa Bell and Sarah Dean, Jennifer Hauser and Saska Vandoorne